Scripture Reading: Job 8:1-10:22 / Matthew 19:16-30 / Proverbs 3:11-20
Someone once said, “Nothing except perhaps the weather so completely occupies mankind’s conversation as the subject of money.” This statement does not just apply to those who actively pursue wealth and prosperity but also to those who simply live from paycheck to paycheck. Our budgets are impacted by higher food, gas, utility, insurance and living expenses. It is becoming more difficult to “survive” and raise a family in our uncertain economic times.
There is a definite reason to be concerned about money yet we need to guard our hearts so we do not become consumed with money. A young man approached Jesus concerned about his life and his eternity. He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16) Jesus told him to keep the commandments and the young man said he kept all of them but added, “What do I still lack?” (v.20)
The commandments that Jesus gave were all external in nature but this young mans lack was internal. He loved his money and his wealth controlled him. Jesus knew this young man’s riches consumed his heart. In Mark’s gospel, it says that Jesus looked at him and loved him. Jesus had sympathy and compassion for this young man. He did not react in condemnation, bitterness or scolding but with truth. Jesus tells him to sell his possessions, give to the poor and he would have treasure in heaven. (v.21)
The young man “…went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (v.22) Jesus held out the key that would unlock heaven but the young man would not take it because his hands were full of earthly treasure. He was unwilling to surrender his riches because his riches had a death grip on him. The young man determined eternal life failed in value and importance compared to his earthly riches.
We live in a world today filled with treasure seekers. Athletes relentlessly train their bodies and improve their skills in order to gain treasured victories and greatness. Entrepreneurs live for opportunities of advancement and work diligently to generate financial success. These things within themselves are not sinful yet they become costly when they are valued, pursued and ultimately replace the treasure of eternal life.
The rich young man left sad because he was not only rich but he also left the same way he came to Christ…with an emptiness and void in his soul. No matter how many riches we accumulate or treasures we secure, they can never satisfy the longing of our soul. Only Jesus can bring us into right relationship with The Father. He alone is able to forgive us of sin and change us from the inside out. Peace and joy are a result of His continual and infilling presence. The treasures of this world fail in comparison to the treasures of heaven. Don’t let the treasures of this world lay hold of your life; let them go… in order to lay hold of eternal riches!